Wild head coach Jacques Lemaire met with reporters following the afternoon session at today’s first day of camp. Here are some of his more notable quotes, all given with his signature smooth delivery and French Canadian accent:
On how it feels to be back on skates
"My feet are sore right now. It was good, it was fun to be there with the guys. You could see the excitement among the guys on the team. All the guys that were here were excited."
"We had a good first day of practice. I hope the (players) enjoyed it as much as we did."
"Last week I got older, but today I got younger. It felt good."
"The coaching staff couldn’t wait to get out there. We were ready a half hour before. The players were the same way."
On the short amount of time before Friday’s preseason opener
"That’s why training camp is a little different this year. We got less players and also the way that we practice and drill will be a little different."
On pushing the players in training camp
We try to push them, but not too much. On the other hand, the guys should be in shape. I feel the guys are in shape.
On approaching the game with the new obstruction rules
"There’s no doubt it will change the game. We saw in the past a lot of guys in the defensive zone holding. The top players and the guys that are smart, they move the puck and they want to go to the open space. To avoid that, teams were hooking and holding the guy so he couldn’t get there. But now, he’ll be able to go to the open space so there will be more and more scoring chances."
"I think good games used to have 13, 14 or 15 chances to score in a game. I think that could go up by five or 10 more chances per game."
On how he thought the intensity of practice was for Day One
"It was great. I thought the second group was more lively. It’s funny but every training camp, the first group, I don’t know if they bring their pillows with them, but they are a little asleep. It was OK, but I really enjoyed the second group. Maybe they’re faster, I don’t know. But they were moving the puck well and skating very well."
On whether or not the guys are rusty after such a long layoff
"Really, when the competition starts, we will know what type of shape the guys are in. They look good now. But they haven’t wrestled. They haven’t gotten an elbow in the face, a kick in the butt, a slash on the ankle. But it’s coming."
His least favorite rule change
"I would say limiting the goaltenders. The (elimination of) the red line. It could be good for the game. We’re trying to get an exciting game and I’m happy with that. There are some adjustments we’ll have to make. The goaltender rules I was against because I felt a goaltender that has the talent to control the puck and can do whatever he wants...I mean I never saw any rules to stop Gretzky from making all these nice goals."